Are you ready to take your fly fishing skills to the next level? If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible to catch bass on a fly rod, then this article is for you. We’ll dive into the world of shore fly fishing and dispel some common misconceptions along the way.
Places and Times
As with any form of angling, the key to success is finding the right location. When fly fishing from the shore, you have the advantage of being able to cast into a wide range of habitats where bass are likely to gather. From the surf and rough ground to deep gullies and sand bars, there are numerous opportunities to target these elusive fish.
When it comes to the best time of year for bass fly fishing, it varies depending on your location. In North Wales, for example, the prime season runs from May to October, with the highest catch rates typically in July, August, and September. However, bass can still be caught outside of these months, especially on the south coast of the UK.
Water clarity also plays a role in the success of your fly fishing expedition. Bass are less likely to be interested in flies when the water is murky. If you encounter colored water conditions, it’s best to move to a different location or try using brightly colored flies to improve visibility.
Equipment and Flies
When it comes to gear, there are a few key considerations for fly fishing for bass from the shore. A fast taper, tip action rod is essential for casting bulky flies into strong winds. An 8wt rod is suitable for most conditions, but a 7wt can be used in calm conditions and a 9wt in rough waters or when targeting larger Pollock.
Reels don’t need to be high-end models designed for fast-running saltwater species, but they should be resistant to saltwater corrosion and able to withstand the occasional bump against rocks. Wide-arbor reels are preferred, and 100m of saltwater-proof backing is sufficient.
In terms of lines and leaders, it’s important to use coldwater lines specifically designed for saltwater fishing. While freshwater lines can work on occasion, they lack the short, fast-tapered heads necessary to cast larger flies into strong winds. For leaders, 7.5ft or 9ft knotless tapered fluorocarbon leaders are recommended. Flies should include sand eel and baitfish patterns, tied in various styles (weighted, unweighted, and floating) to accommodate different fishing techniques.
Techniques and Tips
Now that you have the right gear, it’s time to master the techniques to catch bass from the shore. One effective method is to use weighted flies that fish in a “bend back” style, with the hook pointing upwards. This style allows the fly to fish at depth as it swings in the current, making it ideal for areas with snags or moderate flow.
Unweighted flies can be used to mimic baitfish and “flutter” at a constant depth. This technique works well in areas with slight or moderate flow, such as rocky points or sand bars where baitfish gather.
For those looking for an adrenaline rush, try using highly buoyant flies on fast-sinking lines and short leaders. This technique is particularly effective in sandy, fast-sloping beaches or deeper waters off steep rocky shores. The fast-sinking line gets the flies down to the bottom, while the buoyant flies hover just above, attracting big hits from bass.
With the right knowledge and equipment, fly fishing for bass from the shore can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By selecting the right location, understanding the best times to fish, and employing the right techniques, you can increase your chances of landing that trophy bass.
So grab your fly rod, tie on some bass flies, and head to the water’s edge. The world of shore fly fishing awaits!
For more information and to explore top-of-the-line fly fishing gear, visit East Coast Paddle Sports. Happy fishing!
Bass territory – boulders and rock pools at low water.
Here is a ‘pinch point’ that proved useful for this angler and that provides a focus of available fish within a few meters from the shore! Additionally, currents develop around such points that often attract baitfish and predatory bass.
A 6.5lb bass on a calm early morning from a small bay.
A good bass in early morning darkness and in the teeth of a strong onshore wind. Hooked within 3m of the rod tip.
A 9.5lb bass taken on a weighted sand eel pattern from the shore.